LITERARY LIFE 237
statements but by evoking a mood which puts the reader in
that train of thought. Such thoughts are as indefinable as the
scene which evokes them is clear and vivid. Picturesque
scenery is then used to suggest certain thoughts very much in
the same way as certain chords in the Wagnerian operas are
used to suggest the entrance of certain characters. Logically,
there is little connection between the scenery and the man's
inner thoughts, but symbolically and emotionally, there is a
connection. The method, called hsing, or evocation, is as
ancient as the Book of Poetry. In T'ang poetry, for instance, the
passing of a fallen dynasty is variously expressed by such
symbolic method, without mentioning the thoughts them-
selves. Thus Wei Chuang sang of the past glories of Nanking
in the following manner in his poem On a Painting of Chinling:
The rain on the river is mist-like, and the grass on the
banks is high.
The Six Dynasties passed like a dream, and forlorn's the
Most heartless of all are the willows of the palace walls,
Even now in a three-mile green, lurid resplendour they lie.
The scene of the three-mile-long willow-overgrown walk was
enough to remind his contemporaries of the past glories of
Ch'en Houchu in his most glorious days, and the mention of
the "heartless willows" strikes a contrast between human
vicissitudes and nature's serenity. By the same technique, Po
Ghtiyi (772-846) expressed his sadness over the past glories of
T'ang Minghuang and Yang Kweifei by merely drawing a
picture of white-haired, old imperial chambermaids gossiping
in a deserted palace, without of course going into the details of
Here empty is the country palace, empty like a dream,
In loneliness and quiet the red imperial flowers gleam.
Some white-haired, palace chambermaids are chatting.
Chatting about the dead and gone Hsuanchuang regime.
In the same way Liu Yiihsi sang about the decay of the Black-